Richard Alston

Richard Alston


Richard Alston, pianist
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Richard Alston is a masterful pianist, having appeared as a soloist and in recitals with orchestras throughout the United States and Europe. After earning both his Bachelor&rsquos and Master’s degrees from the Juilliard School of Music, Richard was poised for a career in both classical piano performance as well as performing arts education. His performance credits range from recitals, guest soloist with orchestras, live opera to radio and television broadcasts as well as CD recordings. This esteemed career has grown out of Richard’s incomparable performance abilities, which have astonished and delighted audiences for years. In the Metropolitan Opera’s revival of Porgy and Bess, Richard brought an unforgettable sense of well-researched authenticity to the role of Jasbo Brown, combining choreography with his opening solo to depict the legendary charisma of the man after whom the “Jazz” genre is believed to be named. He repeated his portrayal of  “Jasbo Brown” in the historic production presented by The New Jersey State Opera at Symphony Hall, Newark, NJ   Live performances of this caliber, including venues of Weill Recital Hall and Alice Truly Hall in New York City, began at an early age for Richard, hailed by many as a child prodigy. At age 15, Richard received a standing ovation for his performance of the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 at the Brevard Music Festival in North Carolina, becoming the first student to win the Young Artist Competition for three consecutive years. Seventeen year old Richard made his New York debut performing Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No.1 with the Symphony of the New World, under the direction of Everett Lee at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall. As the winner of the Aldredge Piano Competition of the Chautauqua Institution, he was given a full scholarship to the Chautauqua Music School and performed with the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra under Verujan Kojian. This performance was broadcast over National Public Radio. Additional broadcasting credits include WQXR (NY), WNYC (NY) and various appearances on New Jersey public television. At the personal request of renowned music educator and composer, Denes Agay, Richard recorded an album of the composer’s piano works which was released on the Educo Label. Also on the Educo label, Richard has recorded a set of piano works by African-American composers, becoming the source of a commonly sought-after lecture series “Classically Black” that Richard offers. He has performed “Classically Black” at many universities and colleges. In addition, the famed Maestro, Paul Freeman, invited Richard to Europe to record the Arensky Piano Concerto with the Czech National Orchestra. The CD recording, which also included “Etudes for Piano Op. 74” by Arensky, has been released by Centaur Records. As a guest artist with the New Jersey Symphony, Alston performed in a special concert in commemoration of the birth of William Grant Still. Richard was the musical advisor/consultant of a PBS documentary "Classically Black" in which he performs piano compositions by composers of African descent. In February 2013, Richard was the subject of a documentary produced by PBS WHYY. That same month Richard became the host and producer of the cable television show "Performing Arts Showcase at Essex County College." The cable television show features instrumentalists, singers and actors from the New Jersey/New York metropolitan area. A native of East Orange, NJ, Richard received his first instruction from Dorothy Earley, and by the age of eight, was playing organ and piano for the First Baptist Church in Vaux Hall, NJ. He later continued with Sylvia Rabinof of New York and received his Bachelor of Music degree from the Juilliard School of Music, in New York City, where he studied with Irwin Freundlich and Josef Raieff. He was later awarded the highly prestigious Maria Guerra Judelson Scholarship in piano to return to Juilliard for his Master’s degree as well. Under the direction of Professor Alston, a respectable associate degree music program at Essex County College in New Jersey has flourished into a full-fledged performing arts department of Music, Dance, and Drama. Highlights of Professor Alston’s contributions to the department consist of a High School Music Advancement Initiative program allowing high school students to audition for and earn opportunities to study at the collegiate level, and the development of courses in musical computer technology (MIDI, Pro – Tools,and Sound Engineering, etc.) marked by the construction of a new technical music lab. Richard has also served as a faculty member of Rutgers University, Newark Campus, on the Board of Music Advisors for Westminster Choir College Education Opportunity Program and, formerly, as a member of the Juilliard School of Music’s "Music Advancement Program" faculty. In addition to balancing his educational administration with performances, Maestro Alston also insists on making time for a variety of volunteer community programs through his current role as Minister of Music at Trinity United Presbyterian Church in Montclair, NJ. He is deeply committed to the sharing of music to enrich the lives of others. Prof. Alston is the founder of the Crossroads Music Academy. Prof. Alston is the recipient of several awards. He received the Award for Excellence from the New Jersey Education Association and the “Community Leaders Fostering Change in Education Award” from the New Jersey Unit of the National Association of Negro Business and Women’s Clubs, Inc, “Achievement Award” by the National Association of Negro Women, “Musician of the Year”, the National Association of Negro Musicians Inc. Newark, NJ Chapter, special Proclamation from the office of the mayor of the city of East Orange, honored by The Newark Municipal Council, City of Newark, NJ and honored by the Historical Society of East Orange, NJ Inc..  
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